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Job Opportunities at AVAC

AVAC seeks talented individuals to join our team of passionate advocates who aim to accelerate ethical research and global delivery of new HIV prevention options as part of a comprehensive response to the pandemic. All positions are based in New York, NY, unless otherwise indicated. No phone calls, please.

AVAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. AVAC provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, military or veteran status and other such factors in accordance with US state and federal laws. People living with and/or representing communities most impacted by HIV are strongly encouraged to apply.

Chief Operations Officer

Organizational Background

AVAC is a twenty-two-year-old advocacy organization focused on accelerating ethical research towards and implementation of new biomedical prevention options as part of a comprehensive response to HIV. AVAC works across the “research-to-rollout” continuum in solidarity with individuals and communities most affected by HIV.

Financial and Operational Highlights

  • Approximately 35 employees, based in AVAC’s office in Harlem, New York, with several employees working remotely along with a team of senior consultants supporting various aspects of programs and operations.
  • Annual budget of approximately $17 million.
  • Multiple grants from two large donors as well as additional support from other foundations, multilateral agencies and individual contributors and members.
  • Both staff and budget have more than doubled over the past three years.
  • An expansive, international network of partners and sub-grantees, with key partnerships and deep engagement with funders, bilateral and multilateral agencies, policy makers, civil society leaders, scientists and researchers, implementers and product developers.
  • AVAC is noted as a reliable, thoughtful partner within an international network of HIV agencies and subgrantees.

Position Background

AVAC seeks a New York-based Chief Operations Officer to lead the organization in establishing, maintaining and iterating AVAC’s finance, HR, administrative and project management operations. This is a new, expanded position and will report to and partner closely with the Executive Director to provide oversight and strategic direction in addressing the existing and developing operational needs of the organization. Within the first year in this position, it is hoped that this person will position herself/himself as a trusted partner and organizational leader; develop processes and systems to maximize organizational efficiency and effectiveness; and identify priority plans and ideas for implementation.

The right candidate for this role will be a seasoned leader, familiar with mission-focused organizations and have a passion for organizational operations and partnerships, including helping all staff succeed in AVAC’s mission. This person is expected to provide leadership, management expertise, implementation excellence and the practical experience necessary to ensure AVAC has the proper operational controls and financial, administrative and reporting policies and procedures. Moreover, she or he will work closely with the Executive Director to bring internal teams as well as external partners together and ensure that strategies and programs are aligned and supported by the other functions in order to achieve the mission.

This person must have the skills, sensitivity, and experience to guide the finance and administration staff, oversee all financial elements of a growing organization and manage its human resource needs. It is essential that this person bring efficient and effective systems to increase the overall productivity of the organization, including the unique opportunity to build a robust HR function, with the help of professional services and/or an additional role, and produce an integrated employee development and performance management system.

This person will directly manage the finance and administration team; oversee a growing portfolio sub-grants management; participate as a leading member of the senior management team; review and formulate policies and institute strategic plans in partnership with the Executive Director and Board of Directors; and deputize for the Executive Director and act on his behalf when and as necessary.

Main Responsibilities


  • Lead all internal operations.
  • Provide day-to-day leadership and decision-making in line with the organizational mission and core values of the organization.
  • Provide strategic leadership on best practices in finance, human resources, IT, organizational planning, development & culture, with proven advanced expertise in at least three of these.
  • Partner with the ED and senior management team to build and sustain a culture that supports the achievement of the mission and collaborate with them on strategic planning, implementation and monitoring.
  • Provide necessary internal leadership and external representation.
  • Work with the Board of Directors on all aspects of organizational operations.
  • Liaise with existing donors and potential funders to build and maintain solid, long-term relationships.
  • Evaluate and pursue new business and funding opportunities and processes for the organization.

Internal Operations

  • Lead and manage the organization’s senior staff in finance, planning and HR management.
  • Ensure all teams and resources are functioning optimally, aligned to the mission, and delivering towards the strategy.
  • Work in partnership with the ED and the Board of Directors to:
    • Coordinate the annual operations plan and budget.
    • Lead the performance management process that measures and evaluates progress against goals for the organization.
    • Provide leadership for program and project management.
    • Provide reporting and management of all financial, sub-grant and donor engagement processes.
    • Oversee the annual financial audit process.
    • Manage and support board committees.
  • Analyze the current technology infrastructure; identify the next level of information technology and financial systems that support the growth of specific programs and the organization overall; and oversee selection and management of IT vendors and suppliers.
  • Ensure the continued financial viability of AVAC’s operational teams through sound fiscal management.
  • Oversee compliance function and ensure organization is meeting all necessary legal and donor requirements.
  • Work with the ED and Board to identify and manage potential risk and minimize exposure to it.


  • Contribute to the development and implementation of optimal communication and coordination across the organization.
  • Instill a human capital development and “coaching” culture within AVAC and upgrade human resources functions including: training, development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, performance evaluation and recruiting.
  • Resolve issues across teams by fostering community and collaboration and providing order in crisis situations.
  • Instill a mission-driven, action-oriented, results-based, accountable and collaborative culture.

Key Qualifications

As a prerequisite, the successful candidate must believe in the core values of AVAC and be driven by its mission. The candidate should demonstrate a passion for breaking new ground to lead social change. Beyond that, we are seeking a candidate that has proven experience in scaling a diverse organization and a demonstrated ability to both lead and build the capabilities of a driven, bright, diverse team.

The successful candidate will have at least 10 years of senior management and leadership experience, with oversight of an international organization’s business and/or operational functions.

As noted, this is an organization driven by the values of its people, so experience in managing a “values-driven” organization will be highly prized. Additional requirements are:

  • Results-driven: A long track record of exceeding goals and a bottom-line orientation; evidence of the ability to consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; high level of business acumen including successful financial management; the ability to balance the delivery of programs against the realities of a budget; and problem solving, project management, and creative resourcefulness.
  • Strategic Vision and Agility: Ability to think strategically, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan.
  • Capacity Building: Proven ability to effectively build organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch workforce and the processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly.
  • Leadership and Organization: Exceptional capacity for managing and leading people; a team builder who has experience in scaling up organizations; ability to connect staff both on an individual level and in large groups; capacity to enforce accountability, develop and empower top-notch leaders from the bottom up, lead from the top down, cultivate entrepreneurship, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the team so as to put people in a position to succeed.
  • Action Oriented: Enjoys working hard and looks for challenges; able to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available; not afraid to take charge of a situation; can overcome resistance to leadership and take unpopular stands when necessary.
  • General Management: Thorough understanding of finance, systems, and HR; broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, finance, information systems, human resources, and marketing.
  • Trusted Advisor/Partner: A proven track-record of forging collaborative partnerships with colleagues and external stakeholders.
  • Education: Undergraduate Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree highly desired.

Salary and Benefits

AVAC offers highly-competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package.

How to Apply

Please submit cover letter and resume in a single document to No phone calls, please.